I watched with fascination and horror as a mob of Noisy Miner attacked a
Spotted Dove in our garden today. The blood curdling calls of the Miners
brought more and more to the affray and the Dove had no recourse but to go
Not wanting death so near at hand we managed to create enough confusion so
the dove had an opportunity to escape into the carport and under our car.
The miners did not disperse. They stayed, in screaming mode, despite
blandishments by way of hose, calls, etc.
I am a little confused by this behaviour. Miners are famous for mobbing and
I expect it. I do not, however, know what purpose it serves. Miners eat
lerps or take nectar and insects. They "farm" an area. However there seems
little possible competition from a dove. Surely this is, in biological
terms, a waste of energy.
Yes, miners are native to Australia. Spotted doves are introduced. Yet I
could not watch. No, it was not the squeamish behaviour of one who hates to
see killing. That might be a motive. But, somewhere deep inside, I also know
the Miner is out of control. It is native to Australia but it also happens
to have a much extended range, courtesy of human modification of landscape,
and this mobbing behaviour is also one of the key reasons why so many small
native birds have gone from our gardens.
PO Box 269
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